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Thursday, August 23, 2012

No More Tears for J&J: Baby Steps are not Enough

Cosmetic industry giant, Johnson & Johnson, announced last week that they would take action to remove cancer-causing chemicals in its products by the end of 2015. The product reformulation will include reducing the quantity of carcinogen 1,4 dioxane in adult products; phasing out formaldehyde-releasers; limiting parabens to methyl-, ethyl- and propyl-; and phasing out the use of triclosan, Diethyl Phthalate (DEP), polycyclic musks, animal derived ingredients, tagates, rose crystal and diacetyl from fragrances from all products.

Many in the green community are applauding these efforts and calling on other major cosmetic brands to take the lead. “Today’s action by Johnson and Johnson is another example of a company responding to their customers and the public interest community,” said Nneka Leiba, senior analyst with Environmental Working Group. While these may indeed be positive baby steps, the holistic-minded parents we have spoken to are not crying any more tears for Johnson & Johnson. In fact, they're flat out disgusted. Looming questions about the brand's integrity, transparency, and trustworthiness remain. And even with these baby steps, parents are wondering why even small amounts of 1,4 dioxane will remain in the products and why parabens will continue to be used in the reformulations.

Trust in corporate America has indeed imploded. Scandal after scandal, combined with access to resources, information, and social media, have raised the level of distrust among consumers to new levels. Corporate financial strength and stability are no longer the fodder of consumer trust. According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, "engagement-oriented behaviors that are more societal in nature, such as treating employees well, putting consumers ahead of profits, and transparency, are vital to building future trust."

This is most powerfully evident in the natural products industry. Holistic Moms are not interested in brands who do not have a sincere commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability. Nor do they want to support brands pumping out "greener" versions of highly toxic products for our families. Instead, they want integrity and transparency to a degree many brands are not willing to provide.


Fortunately for Holistic Moms, there are companies and products who will meet their standards. Among them are our select Sponsors, including Earth Mama Angel Baby whose Angel Baby Shampoo was recently ranked "Best for Baby" by ecosalon. Not only are the ingredients natural and non-toxic, but the brand itself is dedicated to using "the highest-quality, certified-organic or organically grown herbs and oils for our teas, bath herbs, gentle handmade soaps, salves, lotions
and massage oils. Our products are 100% free of toxins, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan, and free from all artificial preservatives, fragrances and dyes."

When industry giants face this tidal shift, it will indeed be overwhelming. But those companies who have built their foundation on a truly natural, organic platform and positioned to gain trust in a way that much of traditional corporate American can no longer attain.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I am one Holistic Mom who will not be greenwashed. A company like J&J can not just reduce the toxic load of their product and pretend its all better. Reducing the toxic chemical amounts won't make them safe, only less toxic -- but... toxic is toxic!

    I'll stick to products like EMAB shampoos and even home made cleansers and moisturizers where I know the ingredients (and can eat 'em, too!)

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